L & Q Wins Race

Walthamstow Assembly Hall played host to a special Planning Committee tonight with celebrity racing pundit, John McCririck, joining hundreds of local residents and Save Our Stow campaigners to oppose London & Quadrant’s proposals.

After a tortuous four hours the four Labour Councillors (Cllr Pete Barnett, Cllr Jenny Gray, Cllr Ebony Vincent & Cllr Asim Mahmood) outvoted the two Conservatives (Cllr Alan Siggers & Cllr Ed Northover) and the solitary Lib Dem (Cllr Liz Phillips) giving L & Q the go ahead for their ludicrous scheme which does not meet any of the Councils own targets. Interestingly, it was noted that Cllrs Gray, Vincent and Mahmood needed to take their cue when voting from Chair Cllr Pete Barnett who in turn kept looking towards the Councillor formerly responsible for housing and planning, Cllr Marie Pye, who was in the audience.

The standard of the debate from those opposing L & Q’s plans was extremely high. Not so from the highly paid L & Q staff (who described their organisation as a charity) nor, bar one, Waltham Forest’s elected Councillors!

The merits for and against this development can be easily found elsewhere.

We are more interested in the fact that democracy had been given short shrift tonight by an ‘accountable’ charitable and our Labour run Council whose political interests are more important than that of the community it supposedly serves.

We understand that an irate Labour supporter challenged Cllr Pete Barnett to resign so as they could both contest the seat in a by-election. Cllr Pete Barnett is reported to have replied “You can challenge me in 2014”. (Privately, it is rumoured that Cllr Barnett and his partner Cllr Angie Bean will not be standing for election in 2014).

Sadly, Waltham Forest is now being run by a Labour Party clique who lacks vision and has lost contact with its own supporters and residents. The opposition….what opposition!!!

Waltham Forest’s residents need to challenge the political incestuous allegiances by either putting up or supporting candidates in the 2014 local elections who will put community first.

Reward for failure

In a recent article we covered the publication of a damning Ofsted report which stated that vulnerable children in Waltham Forest have been put at risk due to council failures.

As a consequence the two senior Council Officers responsible swiftly ‘left’ their jobs no doubt with the blessings of the Labour Party and a large golden handshake.

Failure is almost always punished in real sports; in the shameless sport of politics, it is often no impediment.

Jon Ralston 

The latest example in Waltham Forest is the announcement that two fairly inept and failing Councillors have swapped jobs.

We agree with Archipelago of Truth that this shows (forgive us for another sporting analogy!) the strength in depth of the Labour team – or more accurately the lack of it!

But is this the entire story?

Why is Cllr Saima Mahmud still in the cabinet following her spectacular failure as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People? Could it be that her father has significant influence in the Waltham Forest Labour Party both financially and otherwise?

So what of Cllr Marie Pye who is no stranger to controversy? This is the Councillor who represents Waltham Forest Council on the London & Quadrant Housing Trust – Regional Committee and supports their plans for ‘The Stow’ and has her red sofa transported around the borough, at our expense, even though rumour has it she is not registered as disabled.

It seems if you are connected to the Waltham Forest Labour Party failure is an option; and can be well rewarded!

Labour lemmings

Vulnerable children in Waltham Forest have been put at risk due to council failures, a damning Ofsted report has found following an unannounced inspection of its children and young people’s services department in June.

A result of this failure is the department’s deputy director, Linda Cointepas, has left the authority by “mutual agreement” and executive director, Chris Kiernan (allegedly a card carrying Labour supporter), is to ‘retire’ at the end of this month. Both, no doubt, with largess ‘golden handshakes’.

But what of the politicians responsible for this service?

The Labour Party have been responsible for this critical area of the councils services for well over a decade yet the current Portfolio Lead for Children and Young People, Cllr Saima Mahmud, has left commenting to a ‘spokesperson’.

We don’t expect the chair of the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee, Cllr Ebony Vincent, to give this serious matter full and proper attention as we understand she is more interested in reporting to the Scrutiny Management Committee her activities with Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, and Cllr Mahmud!

Ironically, Leyton & Wanstead Labour MP, John Cryer, has an article on his website accusing Boris Johnson and the Government of “…shredding our services and putting our children’s futures at risk!”

Previous Councillors responsible for Children and Young People services are the councils ‘strong leader’, Chris Robbins (allegedly close friend of Chris Kiernan) and Liaquat Ali. Enough said!!!